- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Standing proud as they are role models for our families, and a bonus for our community.
By Sue Curry Jones
Selfless service, acts of valor and heroism are expressions that come to mind when remembering veterans and their service to our country. No matter when they served, during war or times of peace, it was a sacrifice.
And, no matter how a pledge came about – whether as a volunteer or an inductee – every commitment served us well throughout the years.
As a community we must always stand proud of our veterans and the duties fulfilled – present or past, male or female – these men and women are the dedicated crews that keep our country strong and vital.
They are the structure and force that guard and protect our personal freedom, maintain peace, provide relief and supply support around the globe, and keep American citizens safe at home, and abroad.
Their commitment requires self-discipline, physical fitness and the willingness to leave family and friends behind. To miss life at home. To sacrifice.
These sacrifices have been made throughout Douglas County by fellow citizens or neighbors. Or perhaps, by a friend or acquaintance who has memories rarely discussed.
Nonetheless, whatever the story, every account of service is special. Here are a few stories and veterans to remember.
Private Charles R. Fish
Many folks from Douglas and Ozark counties remember Charles Fish, and wife Wilma. For many years, Charles was associated with Clinkingbeard Funeral Home in Ava and Gainesville.
Charles grew up in Wasola, and graduated from Ava High School in 1944, and in August, he enlisted in the Army. He served under the direction of General George S. Patton during World War II as a Private in the 10th Armored Division.
The following incidents told by Charles, were recorded in his words, and are repeated as follows:
“While our ship is sailing us over seas, my buddy, John, was really depressed and stayed in the bunk all day, saying he would never return from the war, that he would be killed. All the way over seas he never did get better and talked about leaving his family. When we landed at our destination, John and I were sent to different locations and we never saw each other again. I later learned he was shot in battle.
After arriving overseas, I was assigned to a half-track with me as driver. There was one guy that drank a lot, and every time we would pass a tavern he would make me stop for German Schnapps, a type of distilled alcoholic beverage. (It is clear, colorless and has a light fruit flavor. It is distilled from fermented fruit, and is bottled with no added sugar.) That night we fought in a battle from our half-track, a military motor vehicle lightly armored with caterpillar treads instead of wheels. The guy that drank the Schnapps was passed out, so we just laid him in the floor board of the half-track. We fought all night, walking all over the guy on the floor. In the morning he woke up and wondered why he was so sore all over.
One time when crossing Germany, we traveled up a huge hill and came upon a large grape vineyard planted on top. When we looked down from the vineyard, there was a town full of Germans. We fought the Germans all day and finally took the town. We went into the town and searched all the houses for Germans.
In one house we found a tuxedo and some men’s socks. I tried on the tuxedo and my soldier friend changed his wet socks for the ones he found. When we had changed into the tuxedo and the socks, our commander yells, “Germans ahead!” Our unit ran quite fast, but left the two of us trying to get our clothes back on. We escaped those Germans even though I didn’t have time to completely get my uniform back on nor he his shoes. We ran out the back door carrying my uniform and his shoes. We both had an embarassing moment when we reached the other soldiers that had run off and left us.
Near the ending of the war, some of us took a holiday to Switzerland. We went bobsledding in the Alps and I broke my ankle. I was glad I broke it, because of that, I got to come home to the United States of America.”
Charles was discharged from the service in the spring of 1946, and soon thereafter, he enrolled in the College of Mortuary Science, which at that time was located on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
In 1946, Charles married Wilma Naugle, of Romance, Mo. and together they embarked on a life long adventure. In 1948, Charles started a career with Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, where he was employed from 1948-72, and from 1972 -1990, he served as manager of the Gainesville location.
Upon retirement in 1990, Charles and Wilma enjoyed many years of travel, showcasing her special doll collection and participating in folk music events. Charles passed away in 2003.
Sgt. Charles Darrel Linder was inducted into the service May 1953. He took his basic at Fort Leonard Wood then was sent to Furth, Germany.
In November 1954, Darrel came home on two-month leave and married the former Virginia Moore. He then returned to Germany for 20 months. He was transferred to Ft. Carson, Colorado where he served in the Svc Co. 39th Infantry Division until his discharge in 1957. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal and Army Occupational Medal.
Darrel had two children – Juanita (Linder) Darlington and Charles Fayne Linder; five grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Darrel passed passed away January 2002 with cancer.
Vernon Frazier was born in Mountain Grove in 1931 and is a 1951 Korean War Veteran.
Eddie R. Maggard served in the United States Army, 1980-1983. In 1980-1982 he was stationed overseas in Illishum, Germany and was a part of the 1st Armored Division, 1st Battalian 6th Infantry. In 1982-1983 Eddie served stateside from Fort Hood, Texas as part of the 1st Calvary Division. He left the Army in November 1983 with Honorable Discharge.
Frank Meador of Ava, joined the U.S. Navy right after his high school graduation in Durango, Colorado, in the summer of 1951, three months before his 18th birthday and during the Korean Conflict. He was a signalman stationed primarily on the USS Dixie AD-14, a destroyer tender docked in Sasebo, Japan. He was discharged in September of 1954. Frank, and his family, moved to the Ava area 34 years ago.
Ulysses Grant Bruce was born in the boothill of Missouri. While in France he was a member of the 278th Areo Squadron of the United States Air Service.
Jerry Garrison was stationed in Qui Nhon, Vietnam in 1965. He was crew chief and door gunner. In this picture Jerry is waiting on a crew to help load helicopter maching guns before the next mission.
Wendell Deo served as an Army Engineer in 1953-1954. He was inducted at Camp Crowder in Neosho, Missouri. Deo did 16 weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, and attended Combat Construction Foreman School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He then left to serve time in Panama.
James (Jimmy) Keith Medlock was the son of the late James Medlock and Rheba (Carson) Pool. He was born March 21, 1960 in Gainesville, and attended school in Ava through the 10th grade. He has three children – Mathew Romans, Cody Medlock and Myka Medlock and four grandchildren.
In 1979, unable to find employment, James joined the Army on February 1, 1979, in Kansas City, Mo. He was transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey, troop A-SQDN 7 CAV.USAREUR-E7. While there he did six weeks of basic training.
After training he was sent to Schwinfurt, Germany where he served until his departure from Fort Dix, New Jersey on February 31, 1982 as the rank of SP-4 E-4. While in Germany Jimmy was a mechanic and operated a tank.
He departed with an Honorable Discharge and a Medal for Expert Riflery. He served his country proudly.